How to measure “More”

How do we measure “More”? Or some ask what is “More”?  We get these questions so let’s see if we can just simplify it.  Let’s imagine entity A taking inventory as of a certain date. The total we’ll label X. We leave the components and their value in the inventory to the entity.  Why not use GDP? We and others have problems with GDP and for that reason wouldn’t be so presumptuous to dictate method to any entity. After all, different entities may value things differently. Take leisure time. One entity may value it highly but another may not value it at all. All we ask is consistency.  At a future date we repeat the inventory and we label it Y. Then compute Y-X=”More”(or “Less”). We hope for a positive result but that isn’t always true.

Saudi Arabia provides us with an easy example of how this works. Prior to March 3, 1938 an inventory would show little beyond livestock and real estate. Its major source of wealth came from pilgrims to Mecca. One thing that probably didn’t show up at all was some oil seepage along the Persian Gulf. Whatever the total was as of December 31, 1937 would be X. Now think of a December 31, 1957 inventory as Y. Our simple formula would show a large increase”More”. In that time frame valueless seepage was turned by innovation (none of it by the Saudis themselves)  to an enormous increase in “More.” With only a tiny domestic market for oil, only trade brought in the increase. Luckily for the Saudis our third way of acquiring “More” never came into play. Nobody invaded and took the oil. The other two, innovation and trade, resulted in an enormous increase in “More” without any help from the ruling elite other than signing concessions. People are constantly claiming the “More”is unfairly distributed among the populous, but remember you have to get “More” before even talking about distributing it. If not you’re just talking about who gets what camels.

How do you get to “Less”?   Just use our formula for Venezuela ten years ago as X and today as Y.  No matter how you value the components, it isn’t going to result in “More.” Most observers would point to bad governance as the cause, but now even  Saudi Arabia is showing “Less.”  The drastic drop  in oil prices is the culprit. This brings us to a simple fact, even those entities blessed with great resources, both of these oil, doesn’t mean endless increased “More.” Only by doing the things to encourage innovation and trade can an entity look forward to “More.” Failing that you’re left with only the option of attacking your neighbor to take it. In a nuclear age, this may not work out well. Hope this clears this up.

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